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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 22, 2017

FAFSA completion increases for Class of 2017

Jul 18, 2017

The Iowa College Access Network (ICAN) is pleased to announce that FAFSA completion rates through June 30 are up for Iowa high school seniors by 8.5 percent over the previous year.

Over the past year changes to the financial aid timeline and process have provided students the opportunity to access financial aid earlier and with greater ease. FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the federal form required to access both federal and state financial aid, including grants and federal student loans. By completing the FAFSA, Iowa students can unlock millions of dollars in aid, making the successful completion of education and training beyond high school a reality.

Data shows that students have an 85 percent chance of being awarded financial aid by simply completing the form. ICAN’s work, in partnership with both the high school counseling and higher education communities of Iowa, has made great strides in bringing awareness of the importance of FAFSA completion to high school seniors. Through its FAFSA Ready Iowa FAFSA assistance events, community grant initiatives, and school-based programming, ICAN and its partners are making an impact on FAFSA completion in Iowa, and in helping students attain their future goals.

“Awareness and outreach programs are an important aspect of FAFSA completion, but the real impact comes from having skilled and knowledgeable professionals to meet one-on-one with families and help them maximize their unique situations. That’s where ICAN really moves the needle on FAFSA completion.” stated Rob Miller, president of the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN.)

In an effort to empower students with the knowledge and assistance to navigate the financial aid process, ICAN launched the FAFSA Ready Iowa Initiative in Fall 2016, amplifying the successful Iowa College Goal Sunday FAFSA assistance program with additional outreach and support to both students and school counselors. FAFSA Ready Iowa is part of a wider effort by ICAN to reach every middle- and high school and every student in Iowa to better prepare students for college and the workforce. According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, more than 60 percent of Iowa jobs will require a college education by 2020.

“Education and training beyond a high school is a necessity for long-term success in the ever-changing job market,” explained Miller. “This initiative enables Iowa students to gain access to the financial aid that helps cover the expenses of obtaining the education and training needed to be competitive in today’s workforce.”

As part of the FAFSA Ready Iowa initiative and in addition to the statewide events, ICAN has partnered with local community foundations throughout the state on county and school-based FAFSA initiatives to bring systemic change to specific districts and counties including Benton, Black Hawk, Emmet, Humboldt, Kossuth, Linn, Muscatine, Scott, and Tama Counties.

ICAN, a nonprofit organization providing career and college readiness planning to students and parents in Iowa, has been educating and empowering Iowa’s future workforce since 1998.

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